Print Tips
6 Holiday Gift Catalog Planning Strategies
  by:  |  Mar 15, 2010

Holiday catalogs are strong marketing magnets simply for the promise of valuable information they bring to the shopping customer – unless your planning and execution botch up the end result, wasting your promotional printing campaign. Avoid this from happening by planning your catalogs the right way, from the bottom up!

Here are 6 catalog planning strategies to get you started; these tips can be applied to planning any catalog venture in general, but given the pressure and crunch times when festive occasions come along, paying attention to the details is doubly important when you’re launching a holiday gift catalog campaign. For more information, check out Jack Schmid’s book, “Creating a Profitable Catalog”, available on Google Books here.

Holiday Gift Catalog Step-by-Step Planning Tips

1. Conduct a feasibility study.

You’ll need to check, first of all, whether or not your holiday catalog venture can get off the ground. Make sure that:

  • your catalog’s purpose and objectives are clearly defined,
  • you have closely analyzed the market and have observed a good opportunity for your catalogs to address customer needs,
  • your business concept is aligned with the catalog’s purpose and objectives and assures a competitive advantage,
  • you are aware of risks to your holiday catalog venture and are prepared to meet them in advance, and
  • you have a realistic timetable everyone involved in the catalog venture is able to follow.

2. Prepare the business plan.

If your feasibility study gives your holiday catalog venture the green light, it’s time to prepare the full-blown strategic business plan. Your business plan should have these components:

  • Merchandising Plan – where you decide what products you will include in your catalogs, whether there are enough of these products in your inventory, and whether these products meet your quality standards.
  • Marketing Plan – where you should see if you have customer lists ready as well as sources for additional targets, review the creative image and niche you want to project in your holiday catalogs, oversee your catalogs’ creative execution in terms of design and content, analyze the methods you will use to evaluate results, and decide what distribution schedule you will follow.
  • Fulfillment Plan – Here you’ll go into detail on how product orders and data should be processed, how the products will be warehoused, picked, packed, and shipped, how the customer service system in place will flow, and what credit and controls are available for your holiday catalog campaign.
  • Financial Plan – Here you should go into detail on how you’ll break even on your catalog expenses, what the cash and order flow will be, and what your projected return on sales and return on investment will be.
  • People Plan – This will cover the key leaders and staff involved, as well as a definition of their roles, in every part of your holiday catalog venture.

3. Finalize catalog information: communicate with the various departments involved

You’ll be doing this in the process of creating your feasibility study and business plan, but it pays to make sure everything is in order before you produce your holiday catalogs’ final design. This will not only make sure your customers are guaranteed a smooth and pleasant experience when ordering their desired products with your catalogs’, but will also help you come closer to 100% correctness in your holiday catalog’s content.

4. Catalog presentation: establish a clear identity and niche

Hire a professional designer who can understand your business’s identity and the niche you want to target as completely as possible. Using your logo and identity’s colors throughout the catalog design will help retain your identity in people’s minds as they browse through your catalog, but this should not take away from the colors you will use in your target marketing campaign’s design, the holiday colors you will include, or any color categorizing you will use.

Present your products in a way that your customers will have to buy them for their friends and family as presents!

5. Catalog design: creativity, visuals, copy, sectioning, and layout

Your copy should be written by an able copywriter who can capture the voice and style your target market will respond to best, while enticing potential customers to invest in your products at the same time. Proofreading multiple times is a must; even if one typo escapes your notice, it can make a significant impact on your reader in terms of your professional image. Choose no more than two font styles to maintain consistency throughout your holiday catalog design; make sure the font you choose for the copy can be read without much difficulty.

Creativity in your holiday catalog design also involves reinterpreting the holiday in a refreshing light; too-familiar renditions of holiday designs can take away from your catalog’s impact. Also make sure you don’t sacrifice your catalog’s usability for the sake of the design.

6. Catalog printing: budget, paper, process, service, and turnaround time

Check the prices offered by all your catalog printer options and find the one that gives you the best return for your money; you should be looking at affordability, paper quality, printing process, customer service, and turnaround time. Online printing reviews help a great deal in making this crucial decision. Use the power of the Internet to your advantage and choose wisely!

We hope this guide gives you a solid idea on how to start planning your holiday gift catalog campaign; if we missed anything, please let us know in the comments!

Also, whenever you’re ready to invest in online catalog printing to lower your overhead costs and guarantee a great ROI for your business, be sure check out the promotional printing services we have available at; our easy to use website navigation, competitive prices, and critically acclaimed printing and customer service are what keep us the number one printing choice for even the most exacting customer!